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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Improving Collective Teacher Efficacy

In my last post, I wrote about my concerns regarding the influence that NJ's proposed teacher evaluation reform may have on collective teacher efficacy (CTE). I am concerned because there is evidence that improving CTE in schools will lead to increases in school and student outcomes. So, school leaders should be aware of these positive associations and consider taking steps to improve CTE in their schools. I try to do this on a regularly basis, so I hope our new teacher evaluation system does not "undo" much of the work we have done over last several years.

I must admit, though, I am not quite sure about how to improve CTE. There is little evidence in the academic literature regarding antecedents of CTE. Two pieces of evidence that I have reviewed include transformational leadership behaviors and mastery experiences as two means to improve CTE in schools. The evidence for transformational leadership behaviors to improve CTE was presented by Kenneth Leithwood and his colleagues. Much of the work in the area of mastery experiences has been done by Albert Bandura. Unfortunately for the practicing school leader, neither of these pieces of evidence provides a clear direction for improving school CTE.

Given the potential for CTE as a school level variable that leaders can target to improve school and student outcomes, I hope scholars continue to investigate variables that might influence CTE. Perhaps these investigations will include examinations of school, teacher, and student level variables. I look forward to reading about such studies to learn more about how school leaders can improve CTE in their schools, because without the evidence, we cannot be sure our efforts to improve CTE will actually work. At best, we can only hope our efforts minimize any destruction to CTE that might be caused by the many policy reforms currently in the spotlight.

If you have been leading to improve CTE in your school, please join the discussion to share your approach.

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